Madison Cawthorn: 2 guns in airport, 4 knives on school property, nine traffic violations, an insider trading scandal, and 0 consequences


Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) was caught attempting to bring a loaded 9mm handgun through airport security in North Carolina—for the second time. Law enforcement said TSA agents discovered the gun in Cawthorn’s bag on Tuesday. The lawmaker admitted it was his firearm and was issued a citation for “Possession of a Dangerous Weapon on City Property, which is a City of Charlotte Ordinance.”

Mr. Cawthorn was released, and the CMPD took possession of the firearm, which is normal procedure… It is standard procedure for the CMPD Airport Division to cite in lieu of arrest for the misdemeanor charge of Possession of a Dangerous Weapon on City Property unless there are other associated felony charges or extenuating circumstances.

A little over a year ago Cawthown tried to bring a different handgun through Asheville Regional Airport security on his carry-on bag.

Cawthorn, whose spokesman responded to questions July 30 saying he brought the gun by mistake, was not charged with any crime, according to reports and other information on the incident obtained this month through a public records request. That is a normal outcome, said airport spokeswoman Tina Kinsey…

The Republican-majority state legislature stripped a joint Asheville-Buncombe County board of oversight of the airport in 2012. The General Assembly gave control to a new Greater Asheville Regional Airport Authority, which makes it owns rules. Those say “it shall be unlawful for any person, except those persons to the extent authorized by federal law and/or state law, to carry or transport any firearm or weapon on the airport property except when such firearm or weapon is properly encased for shipment.”

Breaking that law is considered a criminal misdemeanor, according to airport ordinances. It was not clear why the eight people, including Cawthorn had not been charged.


Cawthorn also had a streak of allegedly carrying knives on to school properties last year, even after warnings from local law enforcement. Bringing knives onto school grounds is a class 1 misdemeanor in North Carolina.

First, on Sept. 13, Cawthorn carried a fixed-blade dagger under his wheelchair to a Henderson County Board of Education meeting where he spoke against COVID-19 safety mandates. The Henderson County Sheriff’s Office issued a “verbal warning” to Cawthorn.

A day later, Cawthorn was photographed with a Microtech brand serrated knife outside a school board meeting in Johnston County during a mask mandate protest. The lawmaker then reportedly tried to enter the building where a metal detector picked up the weapon.

Capt. Jeffrey Caldwell with the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office told News13 that they had metal detectors at the entrance of the administrative building where the Johnston County School Board was meeting that night. He said Rep. Cawthorn had a pocketknife on him and gave it to law enforcement to hold until he could retrieve it after the meeting. Capt. Caldwell said Rep. Cawthorn was not trying to conceal the pocketknife and willingly gave it to law enforcement.

Cawthorn was then found with a knife on two different school properties during the same day, October 5. Pictures from the private Veritas Christian Academy in Fletcher show Cawthorn with what appears to be a clip of the same Microtech pocket knife. The knife made another appearance with Cawthorn later in the evening while addressing Turning Point USA at Western Carolina University.

Law enforcement never acted to hold Cawthorn accountable, even after he admitted to New York Magazine that he is “always” armed with a “hunting knife” on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives.


Cawthorn has received at least nine traffic violation tickets in the past 11 years, with three occurring since 2021.

2011: Speeding in Henderson County, NC.

2016: Two speeding tickets—one in Henderson County and another in South Carolina; an expired registration card ticket; and a ticket in Virginia for following too close.

2017: Ticket for driving while license revoked in Buncombe County, NC.

2019: Speeding ticket and expired tags ticket in Georgia. Additional charge for failure to appear.

2021: Speeding ticket (89 mph in a 65 mph zone) and improper equipment citation in Buncombe County, NC.

2022: Speeding ticket (going 87 mph in a 70 mph zone) in Polk County, NC, and driving while license revoked citation in Cleveland County, NC. Dashcam footage of both stops (Polk and Cleveland) have been released.

Insider trading

Cawthorn may have violated insider trading laws with his recent posts pushing a cryptocurrency, government watchdogs warn. On Dec. 29, the lawmaker was pictured at a party with James Koutoulas, the creator of the Let’s Go Brandon (LGB) cryptocurrency. “LGB legends. … Tomorrow we go to the moon!” Cawthorn commented on the Instagram post, saying he owned some of the crypto himself.

The very next day, Brandon Brown—the NASCAR star who inspired the saying—announced the meme coin would sponsor his 2022 racing season, causing its value to spike by 75%.

Multiple watchdog groups told the Washington Examiner that Cawthorn’s Dec. 29 Instagram post suggests the lawmaker may have had advanced nonpublic knowledge of LGBCoin’s deal with Brown. The watchdogs said the post, combined with Cawthorn’s statement that he owns LGBCoin, warrants an investigation from the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission to determine whether the lawmaker violated federal insider trading laws.

The value of all LGBCoin surpassed $570 million immediately after Brown’s announcement; by the end of January the market cap had fallen to $0. Investors have since filed suit alleging a pump and dump scheme:

Attorneys for the plaintiff, an investor in the coin named Eric De Ford, claimed that the token’s executives and insiders “made false or misleading statements” and “disguised their control over the [c]ompany.” Ultimately, the 79-page suit filed in Florida alleges, those insiders “cynically marketed the LGB Tokens to investors so that they could sell off their portion…for a profit,” even as the selloff caused the value of the coin to drop precipitously for the remaining crypto holders.

The defendants included the Trumpy hedge funder James Koutoulas, NASCAR, and conservative media personalities Candace Owens and David Harris Jr., among others.

North Carolina Republican Sen. Thom Tillis responded to the report by calling for a “thorough and bipartisan inquiry” into Cawthorn’s stock and crypto trading.